U.S. can't keep up with bigger, stronger Russians in men's hockey


The United States and Olympic Athletes from Russian Federation rebounded from upset losses with men's hockey triumphs Friday at the Pyeongchang Winter Olympics, adding to the tension of their Saturday showdown.

The Russian's lopsided win set up a pivotal game on Saturday against the Americans in Group B, where all four teams have a win and a loss each.

With the loss, the United States now must play in the qualification round Tuesday. Ziga Pance scored their second with under a minute left.

Things tilted even further when Sergei Andronov held the puck away from USA defender Bobby Sanguinetti and passed it to Kovalchuk, whose shot went under Zapolski's arm and in with 0.2 seconds left in the second.

With NHL talent absent for the first time since 1994 over money issues and injury fears, a young U.S. squad with mostly Europe-based talent faced an all-star lineup from Russia's two best clubs, including five-time Olympians and ex-NHL stars Kovalchuk and Pavel Datsyuk. His 13 career Olympic goals top Pavel Bure's previous record of 11. "I still have left some gas in my tank", said Kovalchuk, who will be 35 in April but might return to the National Hockey League next season after his Russian contract expires.

"I think we played well".

"We have to keep our heads up and come in tomorrow confident".

They couldn't find a way to beat Russian Federation goalie Vassili Koshechkin, who made 29 saves. His second came early in the second.

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NBC analyst Pierre McGuire said on the broadcast that Granato was "furious" when Team OAR sent out their top power-play unit with less than two minutes remaining in the game. Many say they want to dress up to compensate for their athletes' drab neutral uniforms.

Team USA has looked sluggish throughout group play. At a meeting with Slovenes, Russian hockey rehabilitated, having won a major victory - 8:2. The match against Slovakia has developed for Russians failed - 2:3.

The U.S. had chances, however. Koshechkin stopped all 29 shots he faced for his first shutout of the tournament.

"It's a disappointment. We've got to reset ourselves and come back and play our way in", United States captain Brian Gionta said. He had Koshechkin beaten but the puck slid off the toe of his stick.

"The college guys that we have on our team have been doing really well, have been pulling their weight", Greenway said.

The climax came when biathlete Anton Shipulin, barred from the Pyeongchang Games by the International Olympic Committee, ran the Russian flag up a pole as the anthem played. "Good players are able to score goals like that, and those are some of their better players so they found a way to score".

"We were a little nervous".